I borrowed, doubled, and slightly modified one from @thescranline, and it's *amazing.* Check out Nick's site and his Instagram feed if you haven't already; he does some incredible work!
Of note...you'll need either a kitchen scale to measure ingredients in grams OR - you can use this fancy ‘grams to cups converter’. Or just use the conversions I ballparked for you. You’re welcome!
350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 ¼ c)
450g caster sugar (roughly 2 ¼ c)
100g cocoa powder (roughly 1 ¼ c)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
350ml buttermilk (about 1 ½ ; buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
2 t vanilla extract
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 320 FC (160C) for a convection oven. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans with baker's floured spray and/or line pans with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients and no lumps of butter are visible.
Next, add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
Fill the three pans evenly - I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part, and each of mine weighed out to about 550g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans, and cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1 T clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
½ c rainbow jimmies sprinkles (NOT nonpareils; the color will melt and turn brown! And you can use as many or as few as you’d like; more sprinkles=more color but also a tougher smoothing time.)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined. Reserve 1/4 c for your cake pop ice cream scoop - see below!
Stir rainbow jimmies sprinkles into your remaining frosting.
Cake pop 'ice cream scoop':
1 chocolate boxed cake mix
½ c butter, melted
1 c buttermilk, room temperature (or buttermilk powder with water)
1 ½ t vanilla extract
¼ c frosting (recipe above)
Combine melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, and cake mix, and bake according to package directions (I used a 9x9 square pan). Cool and trim off any hard edges. Mash the cake together with 1/4 c frosting until it has an even consistency. Form cake pop mix into a large 'ice cream scoop' ball. (Unless you want a *really* bit ice cream scoop, you'll probably have more mix than you need; I froze the rest in 1-inch balls for later use.) Chill in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to assemble your cake.
Chocolate ganache drip:
12 oz (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz (1 ½ cups) heavy whipping cream
Meanwhile, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky.
(If desired, this can also be done in the microwave – combine ingredients and microwave on half power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth).
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles) or an 8” acrylic cake disc (I started using these so I wouldn’t waste so many cake circles!)
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
- Additional ½ cup rainbow jimmies sprinkles (for the cone, top of the cake, and to add to the drip)
- 1 large waffle cone (you’ll have enough ganache leftover to dip the cone and add sprinkles if you’d like, but this is optional!)
- Squeeze bottle OR piping bag OR spoon – whatever you’d prefer to add your ganache drip to the cake
- about 1 teaspoon of shortening – this will make transferring sprinkles to your drip easy!
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting, and add your next cake layer on top. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like - a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part – smoothing the frosting with all the sprinkles in the way takes a little more time; go slow and smooth gently! I usually hold the bench scraper at a 90 degree angle when I’m smoothing; I angled it toward me about 45 degrees to smooth this one. That helped smooth in the sprinkles without dragging them.
Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting. This also helps set the chocolate ganache drips.
If you're decorating your waffle cone, this is a great time to dip it in the ganache and add a few sprinkles! Set upright in a short glass in the fridge to cool and set the chocolate.
Okaaaay......ganache drip time! I found a squeeze bottle worked the best for this ganache since it’s very runny until it sets, but I’ve used a piping bag for similar drips before.
Using a squeeze bottle or piping bag, drizzle ganache around the top rim of the cake, letting it run over the edge to form drips down the side of the cake. Spread ganache over the top of the cake as well. Set your cake pop ‘ice cream’ top of your cake. Drizzle the ganache over the cake pop and smooth, and then set your waffle cone upside down on top of the cake pop.
This part is optional but SO fun – add some more rainbow sprinkles to the top of the cake, and then spread a bit of crisco shortening on your fingertip and transfer rainbow sprinkles to your ganache drip!
Refrigerate until ready to serve!